LONG ISLAND CITY — The team behind the popular Halal Guys food cart is serving up more than just their famed chicken and rice — the company donated $30,000 to LaGuardia Community College to provide scholarships to students.
This is the third time since 2013 that the Middle Eastern food vendor has provided funding to the school, money that will go to LaGuardia Community College Foundation to support students in financial need, officials said.
"It's a great feeling," said Mohamed Abouelenein, president and co-founder of The Halal Guys whose own three children studied at LaGuardia Community College before going on to graduate with degrees from other CUNY schools.
His company began as a Manhattan hot dog stand in 1990, growing after its founders began serving halal meals to the city's Muslim cab drivers.
Today, The Halal Guys operates five carts — one of them located outside LaGuardia Community College — as well as two brick-and-mortar restaurants, and has plans to expand with franchises across the country and internationally.
"As an immigrant, we all know and we went through that, and we know how hard it is to keep up with school tuition," said Hesham Hegazy, the director of business and brand development for The Halal Guys.
"Our way to give back to the community is to reach out to the student who's less fortunate, to help them accomplish their dream."
In the last two years, eight students have received scholarships with funding the company has provided. About two-thirds of LaGuardia Community College's students come from households that earn less than $25,000 a year, according to the school.
"They took out of the goodness of their hearts and gave back to students who they didn't even know," Gail O. Mellow, president of the college, said.